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Cup

  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1821-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in polychrome enamels

  • Museum number:

    800-1883

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 22, shelf 2

During the Qing dynasty Buddhism played a central role in the religious and political activities of the court. Huge fortunes were invested to construct Buddhist temples and monasteries in Beijing and across the empire, and to perform religious rituals to facilitate state affairs or to pray for the individual salvation of aristocrats and emperors at court.

Official porcelain vessels were specially commissioned for Buddhist altars. They were decorated with Buddhist symbols, and often enriched with Sanskrit, Tibetan and Mongolian inscriptions. The inscription on this saucer is written in Mongolian characters; as a daughter of the emperor Daoguang married the prince of Western Tumet, a principality of Southern Mongolia, this was probably part of a service made for her.

The decoration is composed of Buddhist deities and the Eight Buddhist Emblems (ba ji xiang), which include the wheel of Law (lun), the conch (luo), the emblem of victory (san), the parasol (gai), the lotus (hehua), the vase (guan), the twin fish (yu), and the endless knot (panchang), each associated to a blessing. Originally from India, they were introduced into China in the early 14th century by Tibetan Buddhism, and they soon became popular decorative and auspicious motif for porcelain, textiles and cloisonné objects.

Physical description

Porcelain cup decorated in polychrome enamels and gilding with the Eight Buddhist emblems, separated by the shou (longevity) characte, and the seven paraphernalia of a chakravartin or universal sovereign.

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)

Date

1821-1850 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in polychrome enamels

Marks and inscriptions

'Baraxun Tuemd' on base.
It is the name of a province in Mongolia, translates as West 10,000 (per Professor Bat-Ireedui 08/03/2006).

Dimensions

Diameter: 2.6 in

Descriptive line

Porcelain cup decorated in polychrome enamels with the Eight Buddhist symbols, Jingdezhen, China, Qing dynasty, Daoguang reign (1821-1850)

Labels and date

Cup and saucer with Buddhist symbols and Mongolian script
China, 1821–50, painted with overglaze enamels and gilded
The inscription on the base refers to the Western Division, a Mongolian province.
Museum no. 799&800-1883 [September 2009]

Materials

Porcelain

Techniques

Enamelled

Subjects depicted

Eight Buddhist symbols; Deities

Categories

Ceramics; Porcelain

Collection

East Asia Collection

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